japatta wrote:Did you hire a guide or did you do it independently? And how did your shedule looked like(where did you sleep every night etc?)
I can only tell about the Chogoria route. We did it independently. It was a real African experience. After coming down from Kilimanjaro, we had nothing reserved in advance for Mt. Kenya and moreover, as we had spent most of the money on Kili, the budget was rather tight. So we took a bus from Moshi (Tanzania) to Nairobi (Kenya), which was an experience not to be missed. We arrived in Nairobi around 9 p.m. without a clue where exactly we were. The bus was immediately surrounded by locals, and as we were the only white in the bus, we got the hordes on us. The only remedy to get out of such situation is to make face as if you know where you are and where you are going to, grab your bags as quickly as possible, get moving and hope for the best. So we walked some 50 meters along an unknown street and luckily there was a decent hotel where we stayed for the night. We arranged a driver through the hotel's reception who took us to the Chogoria village. There the same thing happened as in Nairobi, we were immediately surrounded by locals, everybody trying to do business with us, but now there was nothing terrifying in the air as it was that night in Nairobi. So we made a preliminary deal, and then drove further to the Transit Motel (one of the contacts in a guide-book), which was somewhat out of the village and away from the crowds. There we found a guy who offered us another deal, so we negotiated until the deal (and the price) was reasonable, and better than the first one. Our "package" included: jeep ride from the village to the Chogoria gate and back, one porter, one night in the Austrian hut (we actually spent 2 nights there, and payed for the other night afterwards) and all possible park fees.
1. Nairobi - Chogoria village - Chogoria gate (the last stretch by jeep).
2. Park gate - Minto's hut
3. Minto's hut - Austrian hut
5. Austrian hut - Minto's hut
6. Minto's hut - Chogoria village - Nairobi
We had no problem with this schedule as we were acclimatized, otherwise I won't do it so fast (especially if you intend to climb Nelion).
Wildlife encounters... oh yes. In the early morning at the Chogoria gate camp (a small grassy area next to the rangers' hut) I crawled out of our lonely tent to take a pee. As I made a few steps towards a loo, unaware of any imminent danger, I heard a sudden loud trumpet that was good for getting heart attack. 10 meters behind our tent was an elephant feeding in the bush. As he made a few steps in my direction I quickly went back into the tent just to get out of his sight and prayed that he wouldn't run through the tent. Then he turned around and after some time disappeared in the bush.